Posts tagged Alzheimer's Disease
What Did the NIH Report on Lifestyle Modification/Alzheimer's Really Say?

My inbox flooded with links to the report released by NIH (and evangelized by TIME) stating that lifestyle interventions (diet, physical activity, mental exercises, etc.) may not be that effective in preventing Alzheimer's Disease. Before I mount my full counterattack, I need to carefully read through the studies the meta-analysis cites.  Still, a quick glance at the exclusion criteria of the meta-analysis reveals the authors limited their review to studies using patients over the age of fifty.  So really, these results imply that lifestyle modifications may not prevent, delay, or treat Alzheimer's Disease if you start these changes later in life.

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Why Behavior Change Is (Still) Better Medicine Than Drugs

While attending the Institute for the Future's Health Horizons Fall Conference on Monday, one thing became eminently clear. The 21st century will be the era of brain, the last great scientific frontier. Due to societal shifts, environmental changes, and the fact that we are just living longer, we are poised to see a sharp rise in cases of diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, autism, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The only thing worse than the increasing prevalence of brain disease is the sobering fact that few viable treatments currently exist.

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Cheeseburgers on the Mind

Making a choice that leads to better health is not always easy.  Otherwise, we would have many more ex-smokers and far fewer holiday pounds to shed.  We would have no need for nicotine gum and patches, or Weight Watcher's meetings.  So if it's that difficult, why bother?  For years, physicians have told the American public that reducing your calorie intake, eating a diet low in salt/sugar/saturated fat, and exercising 3-5 days per week will reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes.  Now, new information has shown that the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are even more far reaching than initially thought -- diet and exercise can affect our minds. About 5-8% of people over the age of 65, and nearly 50% of people in their 80's, show signs of dementia.  As the baby-boomer generation increases the population of the 55-64 age group in the U.S. from 29 to 40 million by 2014 , and their life expectancy continues to rise, the number of people affected by dementia is poised to increase as well.  Recent studies have shown that regular exercise may prove to be a potent mediator of dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.  In one study, those who exercised 3 or more days per week had a 32% risk reduction in developing dementia compared to those who exercised less.  Exercise has also been linked in similar studies to moderate cognitive improvements in adults who are at risk for Alzheimer's Disease, as well as a lower occurrence of vascular dementia.

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